Louisiana Travel | Louisiana Swamp Stomp Festival BY: Anke Tonn, Festival Committee Co-chair

The 4th Annual Louisiana Swamp Stomp Festival at Nicholls State University is approaching soon! Mark your calendars! The annual event will be held on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, March 16, 17 & 18, 2012.

This annual celebration of the Cajun and Creole cultures and the preservation of their heritage began in the Ellender Memorial Library at Nicholls State University. I was hired in 1996 as a Librarian at the University and established my home in Thibodaux. Soon I was embraced by the Cajun culture through the warmth of their people. My new friends included me to be part of their celebrations. They took me along to their weekly dances and gatherings of the Cajun French Music Association and we traveled through Louisiana and even Texas.

As I was inspired by my new experiences, I wanted to show my appreciation and asked the Display Committee of the Library to let me design and create a library display of Cajun and Zydeco music. I asked a local Cajun band to play for the opening. Soon the invited guests started to dance and our annual event was created!

The Cajun/Zydeco Music and Dance Exhibit each year had a reception in the library with a live band, dancing and refreshments. The evening continued with a three-hour dance in the Cotillion Ballroom at the Student Union. The event included a theme, poster, publication, lecture or presentation. These annual successful events continued for twelve years.

With enthusiasm, Brenda Haskins, Executive Director of Auxiliary Services at Nicholls, asked me to work with her towards a Louisiana music outdoor festival in 2008 that became the Louisiana Swamp Stomp Festival. After a year of hard work, we celebrated our first event in 2009. With an excellent line-up of musicians on two performance stages and many tents and seated areas, vendors and refreshment stands, the festival soon became a landmark for South Louisiana Cajun and Zydeco music festivals, drawing members of local and surrounding communities, dance enthusiasts as well as national and international travelers. Today, the Louisiana Swamp Stomp Festival is renowned as one of the best festivals of Cajun, Zydeco and Swamp Pop music.

Last year we added an educational program, Tresors du Bayou, where 1600 school children from local schools were bused in for the event. This program was designed for kids, young adults, teachers, members of the community and the University with music by the Treater band. The program features dance lessons, storytelling, arts and crafts exhibits and learning about Cajun musical instruments. The program begins at 9:00 a.m. and ends with a performance by fourteen-year-old accordionist, Cameron Dupuy and the Cajun Troubadours.   Everyone is invited to this free event. Last year, we had over 2000 participants for the Tresors du Bayou program.

As the name of the festival suggests–“Swamp Stomp”–the University preserves and features the Louisiana swamps and estuaries. Our stages are named after trees of the swamps: the cypress and the tupelo.

During our three-day Swamp Stomp celebration, these stages are alive with music from Louisiana’s greatest musical groups.

On Friday: Treater, Savoy Family Band, and Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys.

Saturday: Waylon Thibodaux, Foret Tradition, Jeffrey Broussard & The Creole Cowboys, T’Canille, Bruce Daigrepont Cajun Band, and Horace Trahan and the Ossun Express.

Sunday: The Lost Bayou Ramblers, Ryan Brunet and The Malfectueurs, Feufollet and Geno Delafose & The French Rockin’ Boogie.

There will also be free dance lessons on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday with the Zydeco Cajun Dance Lessons Group.

So come down to Thibodaux and enjoy our Louisiana culture and treasures!

Admission is $10.00 a day or $25.00 for the weekend.